With a population of about 320, the small town of Taylor, Mississippi has found new ways of growing the community. As nationally known restaurants warm up on weekends, large crowds head to Taylor for its welcoming, country atmosphere.
“I love the small town feel. I enjoy going on weekends to eat at the restaurants,” said Oxford resident Meredith Moffett.
Residents of Taylor enjoy its local establishments, however, they easily notice the growing number of people on home football game weekends for the Ole Miss Rebels.
“There's definitely a huge difference in the amount of traffic and people in Taylor when Ole Miss plays a home football game. Apparently everyone wants to eat some of my Uncle Lynn's catfish,” said Brooke Hamilton, resident of Taylor.
Taylor Grocery, owned and operated by Lynn Hewlett, has been featured in multiple magazines and television networks. The fame of the small restaurant brings many Rebel fans eight miles outside of campus for its well known catfish and live music. Another restaurant in town, Grit, recently opened their doors in downtown Taylor.
“The massive crowds don't bother me in the least,” Hamilton said. “Honestly, I think it's kinda cool that so many folks want to see what Taylor has to offer!”
Other than its food options, the town is well known for it’s holiday parades and festivities. Starting in the early 1900’s, Taylor began having Independence Day celebrations in front of what is now Taylor Grocery. Even though the town does not hold 4th of July parades anymore, the annual Christmas parade has become a popular attraction.
Members of the Taylor Community gather in front of what is now Taylor Grocery for what is thought to be 4th of July in the early 1900's. // Photo courtesy of John Cofield.
A family walks in the Taylor 4th of July parade in 1988. // Photo courtesy of Bill Beckwith.
Harry Collins, long time resident of Taylor, prepares his swing float as family members ride in it for the 2015 Taylor Christmas parade. // Photo courtesy of Harry Collins.
Known for their unique floats, the residents of the town gather with horses, four wheelers and decked out floats for a small ride, making a loop down Main Street. The parade for this year was scheduled for December 3. Because of rain, the festivities were canceled and the parade is moved to the following weekend, December 10.
“As much as I hate to see it be postponed, I think it was probably the best idea," said Taylor resident Sasha Bryan.
Since its founding in 1832, the town of Taylor has constantly grown as subdivisions of houses pop up and more people discover the town’s charm.
“The Community has grown tremendously since I was just a kid,” Hamilton said. “I honestly can't begin to list all the changes that I've witnessed in my 33 years.”